You snooze, you lose: on the difficulty of waking up in the morning

You snooze, you lose: on the difficulty of waking up in the morning

If you’ve been reading articles on and/or doing independent research about your illness, you know as well as I how often you hear certain nuggets of tried and true advice.  For example: stay hydrated; eat healthy foods regularly (no meal skipping); use a migraine or headache diary to help identify your triggers; get yourself on a regular sleep schedule; etc.

It’s that last one regarding sleep that’s been a little complicated for me throughout life.  For the longest time, I never heard any advice about regular sleep patterns as part of any migraine-related advice.  Once I started seeing that tidbit pop up here and there, I willfully ignored it, as I loved staying up super-late one night and crashing out at 9:00 pm the next.  Finally, years later, I got on a sleep routine and it changed my life and my migraines.

These days I do my best to climb into bed with a book between 10:30 and 11:30 at night; I usually fall asleep within half an hour or so, making my regular bedtime somewhere between 11:00 pm and 12:00 am (but usually much closer to 11). My alarm is set for any time between 7:30 and 8:00 am, and as long as I’ve gone to bed on time, I can stick with that.

Once I’m up and at ‘em, sipping coffee and checking email or reading more of my book (I read a lot, you guys), I feel great. I look out the window and decide to step onto the porch for some cool morning air.  I make the bed and give the cat fresh water and feel proud of myself for not having lingered in bed longer than necessary.

Here’s the thing, though:  the part between the alarm going off and actually getting out of bed is next to impossible for me. It has been for my ENTIRE LIFE.  To this day, my mean big sister (who’s now one of my very best friends, happily) occasionally throws out old Janet quotes from the ’80s and ’90s when I was the most annoying morning person ever.  My mom would have to repeatedly wake me up, as I’d sleep through alarms (or turn them off and go back to bed) and was convinced that staying in bed dreaming was the best possible fate.

This problem persisted throughout high school, leading me to being almost late nearly every day. (To be fair, the only times I was ever tardy were when I was carpooling with others—but still, that’s not much to be proud of when you consider the stress I inflicted on myself each day by insisting on grabbing a few extra winks.)

Perhaps it’s gotten a tiny bit easier than that as I’ve aged, but it still doesn’t feel that way.  Once I’m awake, I can be happy and productive and even wonder if I’m morphing into a morning person.  But that seductive snoozing time (when my brain tries to convince me that five or ten or even sixty more minutes of sleep would be the best idea in the whole world, if not the universe) is still tough to muster through even though I know I’l be better off if I just wake the heck up.

Does anyone out there have similar trouble waking up in the morning? How have you coped with this over time? How, if at all, do you think this tendency to snooze and wake up feeling so tired has affected your migraine disease?

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